“…ONE STATEMENT OF YOURS…IS VENOMOUS, BECAUSE IT IS
ONE OF THOSE ACCUSATIONS, OF THE HAVE-YOU-STOPPED-
BEATING-YOUR-WIFE VARIETY, AGAINST WHICH THERE IS NO
DOROTHY LEIGH SAYERS. English mystery novelist; creator of the memorable sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey. Typewritten Letter Signed, Dorothy Leigh Sayers, three pages, quarto, Witham, Essex, July 25, 1947. To Dr. James Bridie.
“…I said that one statement of yours, which I quoted, was…’venomously said.’ It is venomous, because it is one of those accusations, of the have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife variety, against which there is no conceivable defence; and it is made…against a body whose peculiarly isolated and semi-official position precludes it from making any defence at all. A similar imputation of malice could scarcely…be made with impunity against a private person or a private firm. You say that you made this…’in a loud, hysterical voice.’ I doubt whether any good is done by hysteria. As for the rest; you are misinformed….
“1.) It is not true that the Authors’ Society…is ‘the representative of the authors.’ The only representatives legally entitled to negotiate contracts…are the author’s…agents. I have already pointed this out to the B.B.C…. 2.) It is not true that professional authors in general have benefited by the intervention of the Authors’ Society in their relations with the B.B.C. On the contrary…that intervention has tended to operate over the whole field of negotiation in such a way as to foster misunderstanding, perpetuate unsatisfactory conditions, debase values and force prices down…. 3.) It is not true that the Authors’ Society is in a position to call a legal strike….4.) It is not true that ‘it is as much as their livelihood is worth for the great majority of writers’ to refuse to sign an inequitable clause in a contract…. As for the suggestion that I am in some way exploiting a privileged position, I trust that you do not realize how extremely offensive it is…..” Miss Sayers continues her letter in this vein, concluding with “…I think the policy of the Authors’ Society is the worst possible, in that it is neither right nor even expedient. This is my considered opinion; and it is not likely that I shall be moved by exaggerated and absurd flattery about my ‘big guns’ or my skill as a dramatist. My opinion is based upon facts, well known to me, and knowable by anyone who will take the trouble to investigate the matter with an unprejudiced mind and without hysterical emotion.”
Miss Dorothy Leigh Sayers’s letter is accompanied by a Typewritten Letter Signed of Doctor Bridie, dated three days later, in which he responds point by point to her letter.
This item is associated with these categories in our inventory:
- Literature – English/Irish